A whole mix of good birds to be thankful for!

Northern Pygmy-Owl - North Shore Mountains - Photo: Melissa Hafting 

October has been a great month for rarities. The gift that just keeps on giving it seems.  There was a Brown Booby and Common Crane which I was lucky enough to see. BC also had a Brown Shrike, Red-shouldered Hawk, Green-tailed Towhee and Red-throated Pipit.

There have also been some good local rarities like a Clay-colored Sparrow at Iona (Metro Vancouver bird #254) that I twitched. It was found by Harold Eyster and was feeding constantly at marker 59 at the beginning of the south jetty. It is so nice when birds are not a 4 km walk out to the end of the long south jetty --that's where they typically like to be.

Clay-colored Sparrow in Richmond - Photos: Melissa Hafting

Also I was lucky enough to see 2 Northern Pygmy-Owls in the local North Shore Mountains. They are such a treat and sometimes not that easy to find. They are so small and hard to see but their cute little "toots" give their locations away. At one point one of the little guys flew down at eye level with me but mostly stayed up high. The Northern Pygmy-Owl was Metro Vancouver bird # 253 for me.

1 of 2 Northern Pygmy-Owls - A cute but fierce puffball - Photos: Melissa Hafting

For thanksgiving weekend I went to Vancouver Island. I saw 3 Pacific Golden-Plovers. One at Miracle Beach Provincial Park was particularly accommodating. In Vancouver I find it really hard to get close to Golden-Plovers because they seem to stick with the very flighty Black-bellied Plovers.

Juvenile Pacific Golden-Plover in Black Creek - Photos: Melissa Hafting

I also got to watch healthy Black Bears fishing for pink salmon. It was especially nice since nearby in Knight Inlet the Grizzlies are starving due to low salmon returns there. This has been the case for other Black and Grizzlies in other areas of Vancouver Island and mainland BC. Climate change and over fishing and fish farms are really decimating our wild salmon stocks which is having all kind of negative impacts on our wildlife: Orcas, Bears, Birds you name it. I wish the gov't would just close the salmon fishery for 5 years to let these fish recover.

Black Bear on Vancouver Island - Photo: Melissa Hafting

The American Dippers were eating salmon eggs in the river on Vancouver Island - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Anyways, back on point it was so lovely to be in the presence of these gorgeous animals that deserve our utmost respect. The bears were always given their space and treated with respect. I had lots of fun watching the American Dippers fishing for salmon roe and singing their pretty melodic songs as well.

I have so much to be thankful for this thanksgiving and so do we all living in this beautiful planet with so many beautiful birds and animals.


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